CNN Panel Pushes Back On Former Biden Spokeswoman Kate Bedingfield Defending Admin’s Border Policies

[Screenshot/CNN: The Lead with Jake Tapper]

Nicole Silverio Media Reporter
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A CNN panel pushed back against former White House communications director Kate Bedingfield’s defense of President Joe Biden’s administration’s border policies Tuesday.

Biden unveiled executive action Tuesday afternoon to pause new asylum requests after the average number of migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border exceeded 2,500 over a span of a week. Bordercrossers will once again be eligible for asylum requests once the daily average decreases to 1,500.

Bedingfield accused Congress of being at fault for the ongoing crisis at the border, leading the panel to push back.

“First of all, I think it’s important to note there are differences between what President Biden’s put forward today and for example, family separation which was a key piece of Donald Trump’s legislation —” Bedingfield said.

“I’m not talking about family separation,” CNN host Jake Tapper interjected. “I’m talking about restricting asylum.”

“But look, also, we also had four years of rising numbers at the border. The president has been very, very clear that his preference was to do this in a bipartisan way through Congress. We know that when the Trump administration tried to do this with an executive order, they were challenged in the courts. The Biden White House has every expectation that will happen to them too. This was not the way the president wanted to do this, but Republicans walked away from the table unwilling to work on a bill that was one of the most comprehensive and most significant bipartisan efforts —” she continued.

“But that happened like six months ago,” Tapper said. “February, was it? Okay.”

Bedingfield referred to the Emergency National Security Supplemental Appropriations Act, which intended to appropriate funds to hire new immigration judges and close the border if the average daily crossings exceed 5,000. The border would reopen once the daily crossings decreased to below 3,750 persons per day. (RELATED: Top Biden Immigration Officials Have Long History Of Left-Wing Activism, Records Reveal) 

Senate Republicans, along with some Democrats, blocked the bill in a Feb. 7 vote. House Speaker Mike Johnson vowed the legislation would be “dead on arrival” if it reached the chamber for a vote.

Panelists argued Biden has a substantial amount of power to mitigate the crisis at the border without Congress’s approval, with former Trump White House communications director Mike Dubke saying the administration has to throw a “Hail Mary” due to the politics of the issue.

“We have a broken system,” Dubke said.

“And the best way to address the broken system is through Congress which would be a lot more applicable from a legal status,” Bedingfield said.

Dubke argued the Trump administration’s “tough rhetoric” brought down the number of people crossing the border, and criticized the Biden administration for leaving the gate open for migrants to enter the U.S.

CNN political analyst Gloria Borger defended Republicans, particularly Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford, who pushed to pass the border bill after Bedingfield blamed them for not passing the legislation. She argued Biden has a “very potent argument” to state Republicans did not want to solve the border crisis.

Dubke said Biden’s executive action is the solution that courts struck down during the Trump administration.

Biden had previously denied he had any power to take executive authority on the border leading up to Tuesday’s action, instead blaming congressional Republicans for the continuing crisis that had risen to record highs since he assumed office. The president’s aides reportedly had less urgency to take action on the border crisis, three people familiar with the matter told Politico in March.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Republicans have “gotten in the way” of the administration fixing the crisis during a Feb. 23 briefing.

“House Republicans have gotten in the way. The speaker has gotten in the way. And so we want to deal with this issue, this is an issue that the majority of Americans care about. House Republicans, the speaker, got in the way. The question really is for the speaker. What changed? Speaker Johnson, what’s changed?” she said.

Migrant apprehensions exceeded 1.5 million in the 2024 fiscal year thus far, which started in October 2023, according to Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Apprehensions reached 301,980 migrants in the month of December alone, the highest number ever seen in a single month.

Apprehensions reached slightly over 400,000 in the 2020 fiscal year alone, Trump’s final year in office, CBP reported.